Editorial : Counting is hard
Tomorrow, as we count our blessings, it will be necessary to distinguish among the dependable felicities of Island life and those which are dependably mutable. For instance, there is the reliable neighborliness. Vineyarders care about their neighbors; they are compassionate and unstinting in their generosity toward those among us who need a hand.
But, Vineyarders are also sharply critical, outspokenly intolerant, determinedly jingoistic, thoughtlessly narcissistic, and happily attentive to everyone else's business. Read the comments on mvtimes.com, for a sample. You can count on finding all variations on these themes.
Then, looking outward, there's the fickle weather, the variable, moody ocean, the empty beaches, the great ponds, the diverse woodlands - all changing daily, and thankfully beyond our abilities to direct, though we meddle.
Some aspects of Vineyard life may be depended upon, without question; some may be depended upon to change.
Here is the annual chance to shift one's attention from what is so disheartening and to attend instead to what is known, what endures, what is possible; to what, in all its remarkable potential, is given us; and to what we can do better, if we try hard enough.
We are blessed, for instance, with the opportunity to forge friendships and families and to make them last, so that when life itself and everything in it has changed and changed again (or as seems the case these days, unraveled), there remains a partner who is ever more familiar, ever more comfortable, and ever more dependable.
We are blessed with days like this one, when we can turn away from life's dailiness and do something uncommon yet familiar, in the company of family and friends.
We are blessed with the chance to begin again, to re-evaluate old assumptions and to make changes. We can start over. We can abandon old, unrewarding pursuits and try new challenges.
We are blessed with diversity. Appearance, values, pursuits, language, passions, humor - all different among us.
And we can recognize twaddle for what it is, and good sense for what it is, and determine to have more of the latter in our lives.
We have learned, thank goodness, to distinguish between fairness and unfairness, and sometimes we practice the former in our dealings with our neighbors.
We possess, though we ignore it sometimes, the instinct to thank God for all we enjoy and all we would possess.